NEW YORK (
Barnes & Noble
is expected to settle a lawsuit filed by billionaire investor Ron Burkle and avoid a proxy battle, according to reports.
The book seller will add two independent directors to its board and give another seat to Burkle's firm, Yucaipa, according to the
Wall Street Journal
, which cited sources familiar with the matter. In exchange, Burkle would end his proxy battle.
Barnes & Noble would also pay some of Yucaipa's legal fees, according to reports. This settlement could come as soon as this week.
Burkle has been a proverbial thorn in Barnes & Noble's side since he attempted to increase his stake in the company without triggering its poison pill. A poison pill is generally put in place to prevent a hostile takeover. His request was denied and Burkle has spent the past year contending the poison pill.
Burkle is Barnes & Noble's largest shareholder, behind chairman Leonard Riggio, holding a 19% stake in the company. Burkle was attempting to gain a 37% stake.
An end to this suit would allow Barnes & Noble to focus on the sale of the company. Management announced last week that it is exploring strategic alternatives for the company, which could include a sell off.
Riggio has said he would explore purchasing the company with a group of investors, and Burkle has also been named as a potential bidder.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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